By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.5
Whether you want an SUV that's big and powerful, flashy and full-featured, or is a relatively fuel-efficient hybrid, the 2013 GMC Yukon has a good chance of fitting your needs and style. Variety is aplenty in this full-size SUV that is a sibling to the Tahoe and Suburban from GM stablemate Chevrolet. This 3-row SUV comes in regular and extended lengths, with rear- (2WD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD), and with a variety of engine options, including a hybrid setup that enables this rig to achieve up to 23 mpg. In high-end Denali form, it can give a Cadillac Escalade a run for its money. If your needs are more pragmatic and involve towing up to 9,600 pounds, that can be accomplished with the three-quarter-ton 2500 model.
If you regularly need to carry eight or nine people and their gear – and don't want to be seen in a minivan – the GMC easily accommodates passengers and cargo. Those who need serious towing ability will find plenty of it even in lower-trim models of the 2013 Yukon.
The 2013 GMC Yukon carries over unchanged except for a new exterior color (Champagne Silver Metallic) and the ability to use powertrain grade braking in normal transmission mode to reduce brake wear when going downhill.
Driving Impressions Though their size can make these vehicles unwieldy to maneuver in tight spots, the 2013 GMC Yukon has a confident and civilized ride once on the road. The three V8...engines offered (5.3-liter in the Yukon, 6.0-liter in the Yukon XL and 6.2-liter in the Denali) offer decent-to-good passing power for such a large vehicle. In hybrid form, these SUVs team the 6.0-liter V8 engine with a pair of battery-powered electric motors to attain better fuel economy, something for which the other versions are not known. Even with the increased fuel economy, hybrid versions can still tow at least 6,000 pounds. Overall, the Yukon has a surprisingly comfortable, compliant ride. Gasoline models shift smoothly with their 6-speed automatic transmission, while hybrid versions use an electrically variable version and automatic start/stop function to conserve fuel.
ACTIVE FUEL MANAGEMENT
While SUVs and hyper-miling don't exactly go hand in hand, the Yukon does what it can to eke out a few more miles per gallon with GM's Active Fuel Management. The 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter engines use this technology to essentially turn their 8-cylinder engines into 4-cylinder engines when less power is needed. Fewer running cylinders means less fuel consumed.
BLIND SPOT MONITORING
With the proliferation of smaller cars on the road, drivers of big vehicles such as the Yukon can only benefit from extra safety features. This one – standard on Denali and optional on SLT models – uses radar beams to keep high-tech eyes focused on the spots that yours may miss.
Technically, the 2013 GMC Yukon can carry up to nine people across three rows of seats. But buyers who opt for this setup will likely be in the minority, as customers often choose the more comfortable setup of twin bucket seats up front. This also leaves room for a big center console between those seats to store items large and small. Indeed, this big vehicle's exterior dimensions and boxy shape give it the kind of space that could command rent in New York City. Even standard-length models have a good amount of cargo space behind their third-row seats. If you regularly need to carry adults in the third row, the XL is the better choice.
The 2013 GMC Yukon definitely appears imposing. Park it next to a Yukon XL model, though, and watch how quickly the regular-length version disappears. At 222.4 inches long, the XL adds 20 inches and, from bow to stern, rivals 1970s' land barges like the Cadillac Fleetwood and Lincoln Continental. Denali versions add bling to the Yukon's outer box with features like a honeycomb grille, power-retractable side steps and 20-inch wheels. Hybrid models are slightly altered with a lowered front, and aluminum hood and liftgate for better aerodynamics and less weight. Denali versions of the hybrid ride on massive, 22-inch chrome wheels.
A base 2013 Yukon SLE comes with power front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and AM/FM/CD stereo system with USB port and nine Bose speakers. SLT models add leather seats, power-adjustable pedals, rearview camera and rear-parking sensor. Denali models up the ante with a larger and more powerful V8 engine, AutoRide suspension for a more comfortable ride, heated and cooled front seats, 10-speaker sound system, and blind-zone monitoring. Hybrid versions, like Denali models, have navigation standard along with other features found in higher-trim Yukon SLT models.
Many of the features found on the top-line 2013 GMC Yukon Denali can also be added to SLE and SLT versions as options. Among them are navigation systems and heated and cooled front seats. Other options include 4-wheel-drive, power moonroof, 20- or 22-inch wheels, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, heavy-duty trailering package, blind-spot monitoring system, chrome grille, and assist steps for easier entry into this tall SUV.
The 2013 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SLE and SLT models are powered by a 5.3-liter V8 engine that makes 320 horsepower and that can also run on an ethanol blend. Yukon XL 2500 models are heavy-duty, three-quarter-ton vehicles that use a 6.0-liter V8 engine good for 352 horsepower. Yukon Denali models use an even bigger, 6.2-liter V8 that makes 403 horsepower. Yukon Hybrid models are fitted with a 6.0-liter V8 paired to a 2-mode system that employs two 60-kilowatt electric motors. All models except the hybrid use a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid has an electrically variable transmission (EVT).
5.3-liter V8 FlexFuel
320 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
326 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm (E85)
335 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
348 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm (E85)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg (gasoline), 11/16 mpg (E85)
6.0-liter V8 FlexFuel
352 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
382 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 10/16 mpg (2WD), 10/15 mpg (4WD)
6.2-liter V8 FlexFuel
403 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
417 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/18 mpg (2WD, gasoline), 10/15 mpg (2WD, E85), 13/18 mpg (4WD, gasoline), 10/14 mpg (4WD, E85)
6.0-liter V8 hybrid
332 horsepower @ 5,100 rpm
367 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/23 mpg
By JohnM72 on Saturday, August 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great for travel and love the remote start."
Cons: "electgronic issues."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This SUV is great for travel. Only issue was on occasion it would not start. This happened 5 times. A lot of electronics were replaced. Then finally the Starter and solenoid were replaced. This only took 4 years to find. At 114000 miles the #8 rod went... $8300.00 later I had a GMC factory rebuilt 6.2 engine. We were in Southern California (Long Beach). the GMC dealer was great. We still had 2500 miles to go on our trip so that is why I opted for the rebuild instead of junking and buying something else and I did not want a California vehicle. So in 2 years maybe I can get more for an engine with 25K miles."
10 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Jamie on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Issues Rear differential replaced under warranty but still should this happen Speedometer and dash cluster replaced Rides like a delivery truck. Very bumpy..My wife and I have back problems..rides in this vehicle are painful Several replacements of wheel bearings..at least three of them ... ...I paid for some under warranty and did not realize it may have been covered. Door handles delaminates and or broke off door. This happened at 36000 miles and at 100000+ miles. Junk interior trims Pros Feel safe on road Engine has some balls Love rear auto life gate"
14 people out of 37 found this review helpful
By happy with GMC on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Trouble free car. Very happy with it. Looking at a smaller GMC due to grandchildren growing up and not spending as much time with us. If you have a need for more passenger room this is the car."
8 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By MySilverBullet on Friday, July 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Easy to drive, 8 passenger, and very comfortable."
Cons: "Some paint coming off the front bumper."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought my 2011 Yukon XLT in April of 2012. The first thing I did was check the mpg. I had traded in a 2006 Dodge Dakota V6. My Dodge got 19.8 MPG on my 1 hour trip to work. This Yukon V8 gets 18.9 MPG on the same trip. I was worried it was going to suck down the gas. But it doesn't. It probably has to do with the engine switching from V8 to V4 when cruising on the highway. 80 percent of my commute is highway. Just went to Florida with 4 people and a weeks worth (and probably more) worth of stuff. Went through the WV mountains and the Yukon still got 17.6 MPG on the trip. It's VERY comfortable especially on a trip. It is a huge vehicle... but even my wife finds it easy to drive and even easy to park. We bought it because our 5 passenger vehicles weren't large enough to carry myself, my wife, and our two children with a friend each. Now we can carry 8 passengers and everyone is comfortable. In the last 75,000 miles, I've only had to do oil changes and a set of tires. I got a great deal on it at only $34K at one year old with 23,000 miles. Very happy with the car and would buy another one if I could get a similar deal."
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By jima on Wednesday, July 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great vehicle. comfort level excellent"
Cons: "large and needs some getting used to. wife loves i"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"10th yukon/suburban. If limited to only 1 vehicle, this would be it due to room, versatility and quality."
14 people out of 27 found this review helpful
By Jack on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great vehicle. Gets 23 MPG on the highway. Great i"
Cons: "No Cons"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Purchased this vehicle while on vacation. This was an emergency purchase. My old vehicle conked out in Maine, on the way home to NJ."
28 people out of 48 found this review helpful